Town rededicates Wingfield plaza

By Kellie Shelton

The Camp Verde Journal of Camp Verde, Arizona

Many things have changed in the Town of Camp Verde since 1988 — the music, the cars, the hairstyles and the fashion — but one thing that has not changed is the community pride.

The Camp Verde Chamber of Commerce hosted a 25 year celebration for the Margaret Wingfield Hallett Plaza on Friday, May 31. The plaza is located on the corner of Main and First streets.

The construction of the plaza was completed on May 31, 1988. More than 119 organizations and chamber members donated labor and materials, and more than 400 people volunteered to help build the plaza. The project was a part of an Arizona Beautification contest, and Camp Verde took first place.

The Camp Verde Chamber of Commerce board of directors is inviting members of the community who were involved in the project to come celebrate the 25th anniversary of how their town came together and made something beautiful.

Camp Verde resident Donna Young, the granddaughter of Margaret Wingfield Hallett said that her grandmother was her best friend.

"She taught for 41 years" Young said. "I remember going to her house. Her den was set up like a classroom. She always had something to do — papers to write, books and art projects. I developed a love of school because of her. Grandma was always a wonderful historian — she loved this valley. It was her, along with her sister and friend, that started the historical society."

The current administrative building at the Fort Verde State Historic Park was formerly the home of Wingfield Hallett.

"My grandma decided to turn the home over to the museum society for $ 1 — she wanted to keep the history of the valley alive," Young said. "One of grandma's favorite stories was, when she was teaching years ago in the building that is now the Old Rock Church on Clear Creek, there was a flood that had taken out part of the White Bridge. Grandma did not want for the children to miss school, so she took her little boat and met people on the other side to transport the kids to school."

The dedication was a labor of love for the community, according to Steve Goetting, the former president of the Chamber of Commerce from 1987 to 1988.

"Everything was donated," Goetting said. "It was beautiful seeing the town work together on this project. I remember during the dedication 25 years ago — the Camp Verde Cavalry delivered Margaret Wingfield Hallett in a horse drawn carriage. It was a proud moment for Camp Verde. The Channel 3 news station was there covering the event, I can drive by any day of the week and it still brings back memories for me."

"I can't believe that it has been 25 years," Young said. "I remember when the town approached grandma about the honoring. She was so humble. She didn't want to bring accolades to herself, but she thought it was very nice. She was so touched."

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